We bought the largest tree we could afford and took the same approach with the oak leaf hydrangea and the six boxwoods. I wanted a strong foundation for the garden so it would look established right away.
We took a different approach with the remainder of the beds though, filing them in with small pots of herbs. They’ll fill in over the next year or so but it did make more work for us. They were fairly large beds (we removed quite a bit of sod) but my dad jumped right in and started planting.
I had initially thought native plants and grasses—they would have gone well with our Craftsman bungalow—but when it came down to it, I had to go with roses and herbs. We planted sage, Mexican sage, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, and lavender on either side of the front steps. I dug up our daffodils, divided them, and planted them throughout the beds.